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Just A Mess

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Little Critter has made quite the mess in this classic, funny, and heartwarming book. Whether he’s shoving junk under the bed, cramming toys in the closet, or overstuffing drawers with clothes, both parents and children alike will relate to this beloved story. A perfect way to teach kids about picking up after themselves!


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Little Critter has made quite the mess in this classic, funny, and heartwarming book. Whether he’s shoving junk under the bed, cramming toys in the closet, or overstuffing drawers with clothes, both parents and children alike will relate to this beloved story. A perfect way to teach kids about picking up after themselves!

30 review for Just A Mess

  1. 4 out of 5

    Calista

    The nephew has gotten a lot better about his room being clear as he is older now. It used to be a terrible mess. Part of that is the niece loves a very neat room and she won’t let anyone mess up her stuff. When they play or have guests over, they always play in the nephews room so the niece keeps her room neat and the nephews room looks like a tornado zone. He is at a place where he likes his room neat, so things are shifting. This beginning book is what my nephew’s room used to be like. Everyth The nephew has gotten a lot better about his room being clear as he is older now. It used to be a terrible mess. Part of that is the niece loves a very neat room and she won’t let anyone mess up her stuff. When they play or have guests over, they always play in the nephews room so the niece keeps her room neat and the nephews room looks like a tornado zone. He is at a place where he likes his room neat, so things are shifting. This beginning book is what my nephew’s room used to be like. Everything was everywhere and he could pull things out fast. In this story Critter is looking for a baseball glove and its in his room which is such a mess that it has to be picked up to find it. Critter stuffs things under the bed and in the closet and in the drawers willy nilly. I have seen my nephew do this many times, just scoop it under the bed. Then he yells, DONE!. haha The nephew said that Critter was a mess. We all agreed. He gave this book 4 stars and the niece thought it was funny. The niece is into Tidying Up, the Marie Kondo Netflix show and she also loves to clean up messes. She is always asking me if she can help me organize my room. she gave this self-cleaning book 5 stars.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Shiloah

    Another cute book that loves children. ❤️

  3. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    First sentence: Today I couldn't find my baseball mitt. I looked in my tree house. I looked under the back steps. I asked Mom if she had seen it. She said I should try my room. I never thought to look there. What a mess! Premise/plot: Little Critter has a messy room. (Anyone caught by surprise there?!) Since he can't get anyone to help him clean his room, he decides to do it for himself...in a way that only Little Critter can. (Well, I take that back. Little Critter's technique isn't all that ori First sentence: Today I couldn't find my baseball mitt. I looked in my tree house. I looked under the back steps. I asked Mom if she had seen it. She said I should try my room. I never thought to look there. What a mess! Premise/plot: Little Critter has a messy room. (Anyone caught by surprise there?!) Since he can't get anyone to help him clean his room, he decides to do it for himself...in a way that only Little Critter can. (Well, I take that back. Little Critter's technique isn't all that original.) Will he find his baseball mitt? My thoughts: Perhaps with the exception of Ramona Quimby (did she have a messy room too?) the character I most identified with as a child was LITTLE CRITTER. I love, love, love, love, crazy love Mercer Mayer's Little Critter. The rest of the mess could fit under my bed. So I put it there. Then I made the bed. Won't Mom be pleased.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Slayermel

    This book always makes me laugh. I have read it with the children in my classroom several times, especially when clean up is becoming an issue. The children think it's quite funny and always have comments on little critters cleaning technique. :0) Little critter has lost his baseball mitt and his mother suggests he clean his room to find it. Little critter starts to clean his room by throwing things in the closet and shoving things under the bed. He ultimately finds his mitt in the process losing This book always makes me laugh. I have read it with the children in my classroom several times, especially when clean up is becoming an issue. The children think it's quite funny and always have comments on little critters cleaning technique. :0) Little critter has lost his baseball mitt and his mother suggests he clean his room to find it. Little critter starts to clean his room by throwing things in the closet and shoving things under the bed. He ultimately finds his mitt in the process losing his pillow, and then finds that as well. It seems Little Critters dumping technique works for him.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    This is a fun book about a "little critter" who has to clean his very messy room, but does not do it in a way that any mother would accept. He shoves things in his closet and under his bed. I used this book to prompt a math lesson in which the students had to clean up their unifix cubes, but they had to do it the right way, not at all like the "little critter". The "right way" to clean up the unifix cubes in this lesson was to make tens. The students worked as partners to make tens with the unifi This is a fun book about a "little critter" who has to clean his very messy room, but does not do it in a way that any mother would accept. He shoves things in his closet and under his bed. I used this book to prompt a math lesson in which the students had to clean up their unifix cubes, but they had to do it the right way, not at all like the "little critter". The "right way" to clean up the unifix cubes in this lesson was to make tens. The students worked as partners to make tens with the unifix cubes.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    Fun looking for the spider & cricket.

  7. 4 out of 5

    M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews

    What I remember most vividly about this book is the illustrations. Mr. Mayer certainly put a lot of detail into the messes that Little Critter made, lol.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alexan Martin-Eichner

    i did not much enjoy the majority of the first books that i was able to read competently and independently. only a few provoked true aversion or derision (like the berenstain bears), most merely seemed empty and unsettling i remember the little critter series for the distinct sense of difficult-to-place discomfort; so much abt the series is immediately and intuitively upsetting, but on second glance it is so profoundly banal as to defy any emotional reaction whatsoever. the distance bw the initia i did not much enjoy the majority of the first books that i was able to read competently and independently. only a few provoked true aversion or derision (like the berenstain bears), most merely seemed empty and unsettling i remember the little critter series for the distinct sense of difficult-to-place discomfort; so much abt the series is immediately and intuitively upsetting, but on second glance it is so profoundly banal as to defy any emotional reaction whatsoever. the distance bw the initial discomfort and the utterly banal surface of the world of little critter is itself a source of anxiety and tension--how could this thing make me so uncomfortable when it is "in fact" so normal and usual? the world's symbolic facade thus makes the reader question the rational basis of their initial emotional reaction, indeed makes the reader question their own sanity there are two elements of the textual world of little critter that i think warrant special attention: the physiognomy of the characters, and the reader's process of moral interpretation the eponymous "critter" is not identifiable as any one species. thus it is not only different from us (humans) in terms of species, but in terms of its symbolic embedding in the world. we are confronted as readers with these bizarre creatures which are similar enough to other familiar species as to b somewhat imaginable, but still inextricably different. furthermore most anthropomorphic animals obtain the shape and structure of the human body relatively closely and consistently (though before the meteoric rise of the global online furry community this was less consistent). in many of the books of the little critter series this might appear to also be the case for "the critters," but if one is familiar with the greater series then it is clear that "the critters" have a strange body structure not reminiscent of humans at all (this can be seen most clearly in Just For You). neither human nor animal, nor following the implicit rules for anthropomorphic animals, the critter inhabits a liminal space that is neither here nor there, unimaginable and yet understandable, clearly a mammal and yet outside the sphere of imaginable mammals. all critters (at least in "Just a Mess") also have identical facial features. the characters are distinguished by clothing, overall body size (age), minor variations in their (head) hair, and moment-to-moment are distinguished by their comportment and emotionality. but they are otherwise identical speaking of emotionality--the world of little critter is full of strong emotions, usually those regarded as "negative." anger, frustration, and spite can be found on many of the covers of little critter books, and are some of the more common emotions seen on the pages of this book. indeed some of the most positive emotions displayed are indifference and invidious or mischievous satisfaction. this could b understood as a form of sympathetic realism--"its ok to b angry, see these characters are angry sometimes too!" but the depth of negative emotion runs far deeper its not just the frequency or intensity of negative emotions that is unnerving, but the consequences as well. extreme, unjustified anger or frustration, despite appearing on half the pages, is simply part of the journey for little critter and co. based on its frequency and intensity one can only imagine the seething rage and resentment building up in the children. and the total indifference of the parents is also striking--this seems to b little critter's first time cleaning his room, and yet neither parent wants to bother themselves helping him. cleaning your room is an incredibly important and deep life skill, and a habit to b cultivated! one would think that if it is a child's first time cleaning their room, a parent would want to b involved!! especially if they can detect the horrifying scorn on their child's face. but as little critter cleans his room alone and without help, he of course misses the entire point of the room cleaning exercise--he simply moves the mess from a place where it is seen but easy to clean or tolerate (the floor) to a place where it is unseen but MUCH more difficult to clean or tolerate (jammed, disorganized, overflowing into the closet, chest, under the bed). little critter does indeed find the missing object he seeks, but it is entirely by chance, and is found WHILE looking for another missing object which might never be found! the troubling emotional lives of the children, concerning indifference of the parents, and total misunderstanding of cleanliness and organization in the end lead to... a resolution of the central conflict. little critter lost a glove, and his floor was covered in things. at the end, he has found his glove, his floor is cleared, and there is finally a smile on his face. all those troubling or concerning elements ultimately are rewarded when little critter accomplishes his goal, and in a certain shallow sense has learned a lesson (hide the mess to please your mom). all of this unfolds as in any other children's picture book, but the moral logic is upended as undesirable, irresponsible, and antisocial traits are depicted as normal, usual, alright, and in fact good and proper! one could try to read this as subversive or disruptive if it wasnt for the lack of any sort of compassion, care, or justice in the book; its merely a disgusting world without morals. and its all the more confusing as the book will likely be read AS a children's book, in which undesirable traits lead to consequences and are corrected, and a moral lesson is learned abt proper behavior according to some normative morality. if one enters the world of little critter with this assumption, only bewilderment and discomfort will follow the characters, their presentations, and their interactions are given to the reader as a sort of symbolic expanse. the reader uses their working knowledge of the world around them to interpret this symbolic realm of the book into an imaginable and understandable world of personal meanings and identifications. thus the fit bw the symbolic world of the book and the symbolic world of the reader is key, as this fit is what makes the book accessible to the reader's imaginary realm. the fit between the symbolic world of little critter and the symbolic realm of our 21st c american world is haphazard and uneven. the result is a nauseating vertigo as the symbolic floor of the imaginary realm falls out from underneath the Ego of the reader, and they plunge crashing into the traumatic soup that is the unintelligible realm of The Real. the juxtaposition of the bizarre species of "the critters" with their near lack of individuation destabilizes the already challenging image of The Big Other, or the actual Other. the Other defies identification, like the species of "the critters," but in this defiance it is utterly unique beyond imagining. but the identical faces of the critters portray a horrifying solipsistic world not unlike that seen in "Los Parecidos" (2015), where the subject is confronted with a wholly alienated world of undifferentiated and unending Other-ness into which the subject may never be truly welcomed or accepted unless they die by subsuming themselves. thus the critters defy the logic of self-other that composes the symbolic and imaginary realms, being neither small other nor Big Other, mercer mayer undoes the work of the conscious and unconscious mind by cutting straight to the unmovable Reality of the world the twisted emotionality and upended moral logic contribute to this vertiginous fall off the brink of sanity. the reader desperately searches for some understandable grain of humanity, something warm and stabilizing, something that might confirm that yes, the reader IS reading a normal childrens book and everything IS just fine! instead the reader find a sick inversion of Deleuze's "desiring machines"--all the characters are like antagonizing machines, all hooked up to each other and powering each other with mutual resentment, indifference, and spite. while Deleuze sought to escape the prison that is Lacan's symbolic realm through a compassionate schizoanalysis, this route is even denied to our reader who is unmoored without Lacan's signifiers or Deleuze's desiring machines to orient oneself towards others. and just as the worst elements of psychosis are manifested in paranoid perceptions of ill-will, so does the entire world of little critter seem to be inhabited and powered entirely by confrontational ill-will. one SHOULD be constantly paranoid of everyone and everything around, because they all harbor nothing but hate or cruel indifference thus the world of little critter cuts holes into the symbolic foundation of the ego, not necessarily sending it tumbling entirely into the psychotic pit of insanity in The Real, but opening up fissures that invite the reader to remember The Real, that invite the reader to be just slightly retraumatized i do not kno why Mercer Mayer would wish this upon children unless he himself has a twisted conception of the lifeworld of american children and the trauma that brings them into the world still not as bad as the berenstain bears tho

  9. 5 out of 5

    Doniell

    I've always loved Little Critter books by Mercer Mayer, but I'm going to be an adult for a moment because I'm talking about my child. My kid HATES clean up time. Cleaning up ANYTHING is pure torture and takes hours, tears, tantrums, and wears me and husband out. While I appreciate that Little Critter behaved like any normal kiddo, I think there should have been some reinforcement of "If you're going to clean your room, do it right." I have a feeling that closet gave someone in the Critter family I've always loved Little Critter books by Mercer Mayer, but I'm going to be an adult for a moment because I'm talking about my child. My kid HATES clean up time. Cleaning up ANYTHING is pure torture and takes hours, tears, tantrums, and wears me and husband out. While I appreciate that Little Critter behaved like any normal kiddo, I think there should have been some reinforcement of "If you're going to clean your room, do it right." I have a feeling that closet gave someone in the Critter family a concussion. Guess what my kid does? He shoves everything without regard into containers. You can't find anything you're looking for. SMH

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alicia Beaumier

    I think this was super appropriate for situations we go through in the every day life. When little critter has to clean his room to find something is something I relate to. I think every kid cleans the exact same way, with shoving stuff in the closet.He finally found what he was looking for after "cleaning".The illustrations are awesome and they really tell the story as you go along without having to read the words which I think benefits to the younger kids. The book was really cool and really k I think this was super appropriate for situations we go through in the every day life. When little critter has to clean his room to find something is something I relate to. I think every kid cleans the exact same way, with shoving stuff in the closet.He finally found what he was looking for after "cleaning".The illustrations are awesome and they really tell the story as you go along without having to read the words which I think benefits to the younger kids. The book was really cool and really kept you interested.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Gala

    Every child has to learn to clean his or her room. If they do not learn this life skill they will not be able to find any thing and grow up to be unorganized.This little critter decided to clean his room so that he could find his baseball mitt.Children can comprehend what happens first to last in this story.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Graci

    I like this book for many reasons. One, it has a funny, real life story. Second, it uses very simple words for my early readers. Third, it has real-life lessons in it: cleaning your room, finding your toys, being responsible for your own belongings and mess, and one should never 'wash' the bedroom floor with a hose :) I like this book for many reasons. One, it has a funny, real life story. Second, it uses very simple words for my early readers. Third, it has real-life lessons in it: cleaning your room, finding your toys, being responsible for your own belongings and mess, and one should never 'wash' the bedroom floor with a hose :)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Javen Smith

    This book is great for teaching a concept. I think K-2 would benefit from reading these series's they are great books. This book teaches why keeping your room clean is important and how to do so,and the trouble that come with not keeping your room clean. I read these book in K-2 and they were some of my favorite books to read. These series are definitely going to my future classroom bookshelf. This book is great for teaching a concept. I think K-2 would benefit from reading these series's they are great books. This book teaches why keeping your room clean is important and how to do so,and the trouble that come with not keeping your room clean. I read these book in K-2 and they were some of my favorite books to read. These series are definitely going to my future classroom bookshelf.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    LC learns how helpful it can be to keep your room clean---you just might be able to find your missing things.

  15. 5 out of 5

    kim

    classic

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I sort of have a thing for books that deal with cleaning and organizing since I love to do so myself. This highlights a child's way of thinking when it comes to "cleaning their room." I sort of have a thing for books that deal with cleaning and organizing since I love to do so myself. This highlights a child's way of thinking when it comes to "cleaning their room."

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    I wish I did not relate so hard to this story.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Connie

    Little Critter is big here. We pick them up cheap (well, cheaper than they already are) at the local used book store. This book follows just the plot you'd expect - Little Critter loses his baseball glove and is told by his mother to clean his room. He does a dubious job at that and finally, just when he's almost forgotten why he started, he finds his glove! Here's the thing. You can buy these books for $4 anywhere (or, if you get them used, probably under a buck). You could stock your child's lib Little Critter is big here. We pick them up cheap (well, cheaper than they already are) at the local used book store. This book follows just the plot you'd expect - Little Critter loses his baseball glove and is told by his mother to clean his room. He does a dubious job at that and finally, just when he's almost forgotten why he started, he finds his glove! Here's the thing. You can buy these books for $4 anywhere (or, if you get them used, probably under a buck). You could stock your child's library primarily with these. Don't expect great literature, but they're good standbys, short for bedtime and "just one story" times. The one really attractive feature they have is that they are a great example of the unreliable narrator. Whatever Little Critter *says* he's doing, you can be sure the picture shows just the opposite. This is a good narrative convention, and it's never too early to have your kid learn about it through blatant demonstration. And kids like them. Little-little ones can sit through them, and older-little ones, just learning to read, still find them interesting enough to sit down for.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Alexis

    Just a mess by Mercer Mayer Mercer Mayer is approaching the topic of staying neat and keeping your stuff in check. Little Critter is desperate to find his baseball mitt, and when he doesn’t, he is devastated. But when he sees his room, he is told to clean it, and by that point he has forgot about the baseball mitt. Little Critter wants help to clean his room because how dirty and cluttered it is. Little critter is the main character to teach the lesson the author is going at. I would recommend Just a mess by Mercer Mayer Mercer Mayer is approaching the topic of staying neat and keeping your stuff in check. Little Critter is desperate to find his baseball mitt, and when he doesn’t, he is devastated. But when he sees his room, he is told to clean it, and by that point he has forgot about the baseball mitt. Little Critter wants help to clean his room because how dirty and cluttered it is. Little critter is the main character to teach the lesson the author is going at. I would recommend this book to teens although it is in a little kid format it can still send a message to teens. Teen’s shall be a bit messy and unorganized sometimes so I found that little critter might be able to help. This book has inspired me to stay clean and straight, and now that I've read this book my room is neat, and I don’t lose things anymore (well for the most part).

  20. 4 out of 5

    Guadalupe Sanchez

    Just a mess by Mayer Mercer Genre: humor and comedy Reading kevel: P-3 grade Format: good Just a mess is a book about a little critter who is trying to look for his baseball mitt. He looks outside and he finds nothing. So then he asks his mother if she can help him find his mitt but she tells him to look for it in his room because she knows he has a mess in his room. So he tries looking for his mitt in his room and doesn’t know where to start because he has a lot of mess. So he tries to stick e Just a mess by Mayer Mercer Genre: humor and comedy Reading kevel: P-3 grade Format: good Just a mess is a book about a little critter who is trying to look for his baseball mitt. He looks outside and he finds nothing. So then he asks his mother if she can help him find his mitt but she tells him to look for it in his room because she knows he has a mess in his room. So he tries looking for his mitt in his room and doesn’t know where to start because he has a lot of mess. So he tries to stick everything in his closet and under his bed. Until he notices his pillow is missing so he looks around his bed and finally finds his mitten. This book was funny because it reminds me when I was a little girl and would always have a mess whenever I played and couldn’t find my toys. This book would be nice to share with the students to relate with the character.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Robert Beveridge

    Mercer Mayer, Just a Mess (Golden Press, 1987) Like many kids, Critter will go to any lengths to avoid cleaning his room. When his mother finally puts her foot down after Critter goes to her complaining that he can't find his baseball mitt, he finds inventive, if not too effective, ways to hide the stuff and make it look like he cleaned up. Some parents will take offense to the book's conclusion (spoiler alert: he gets what he wants without actually doing any cleaning), but it felt more like a pu Mercer Mayer, Just a Mess (Golden Press, 1987) Like many kids, Critter will go to any lengths to avoid cleaning his room. When his mother finally puts her foot down after Critter goes to her complaining that he can't find his baseball mitt, he finds inventive, if not too effective, ways to hide the stuff and make it look like he cleaned up. Some parents will take offense to the book's conclusion (spoiler alert: he gets what he wants without actually doing any cleaning), but it felt more like a punchline than a moral judgment to me, so I took it for what I figured it was and ran with it. Enjoyable. ***

  22. 5 out of 5

    Fourth Grade

    This book is about how the main character was going to play baseball but he couldn’t find his mitten. He looked everywhere from inside to out. One thing he didn’t notice was he didn’t look hard enough. He looks one last time and …… I recommend this book to kindergartners and first graders because there are smaller words for them to read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    This book was a good one too. There wasn't a hugely noticeable lesson in the book but it could be used to talk about many things in the classroom. In this book he cant find his mitt in his messy room and eventually ends up cleaning it and finding his mitt. It would be a good lesson for younger kids to keep their rooms clean. This book was a good one too. There wasn't a hugely noticeable lesson in the book but it could be used to talk about many things in the classroom. In this book he cant find his mitt in his messy room and eventually ends up cleaning it and finding his mitt. It would be a good lesson for younger kids to keep their rooms clean.

  24. 5 out of 5

    John Cleary

    It was a good book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alaina Davidson

    This is a great book that many kids can relate too with messy rooms.

  26. 5 out of 5

    IUS F19 ERIC WISE

    A good book to tell kids to clean up after themselves.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lacey Hall

    Can definitely help kids be more organized!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Joy

    Read by Puyallup Police Officer "Obie" Soooooo Funny he used a snapchat filter that altered his face and his voice! Read by Puyallup Police Officer "Obie" Soooooo Funny he used a snapchat filter that altered his face and his voice!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Valleri

    So much fuss to find a catcher's mit! :-) So much fuss to find a catcher's mit! :-)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Isabella

    Book Review of Just a Mess By Mercer Mayer The book Just a Mess by Mercer Mayer approaches the topic of kids being messy and lazy. In this book the main character of the book is a little boy whose name is Little Critter. The mother, sister, and the baby make an appearance in the book. In the book, Little Critter couldn’t find his baseball mitt. He went to go check in his room, and soon found out that his room was an absolute mess; in order to find his baseball mitt, he had to clean his room. He s Book Review of Just a Mess By Mercer Mayer The book Just a Mess by Mercer Mayer approaches the topic of kids being messy and lazy. In this book the main character of the book is a little boy whose name is Little Critter. The mother, sister, and the baby make an appearance in the book. In the book, Little Critter couldn’t find his baseball mitt. He went to go check in his room, and soon found out that his room was an absolute mess; in order to find his baseball mitt, he had to clean his room. He started cleaning by shoving things places and not entirely caring where things went. While he was cleaning, he ended up finding his baseball mitt. I would recommend this book to any child who has a hard time understanding the importance of keeping everything clean and not being lazy. It helps us remember that cleaning isn’t a bad thing and that it can help you in the end. Just as Little Critters mom said, “You made the mess, so you can clean up the mess.”.

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